BIL’IN: Nonviolent demonstration, three arrests 25Sep09 September 27, 2009

BIL'IN 25Sep0Israeli  forces target Palestinian cameramen at Bil’in demonstration.  Around 1pm, Israeli forces arrested 2  Israeli solidarity activists and a Palestinian cameraman, Haitham  al-Khatib (33 years old) during a demonstration in the West Bank village  of Bil’in.  Witnesses say that Israeli soldiers ran  in and arrested the 3 demonstrators. Haitham al-Khatib was filming the  demonstration near the Wall when he was taken.  Haitham has been filming the ongoing  Israeli arrest campaign in Bil’in. One of his videos was recently used by  several news sources, including the Israeli news, YNet (see:,7340,L-3778117,00.html),  to showcase the violence and intimidation used by the army against Bil’in  residents. Thousands of viewers worldwide have been following the night  raids in Bil’in through Haitham’s videos on  Haitham was previously detained by  Israeli forces on 24 July 2009 when he arrived at Ofer prison to wait for  the release of another Bil’in resident. He was held for several hours and  interrogated.  Coordinator of the Bil’in Popular  Committee Against the Wall and Settlements, Abdedallah abu Rahme, stated,  “Soldiers coming to arrest Palestinians from Bil’in in the night is only  part of intimidation campaign, the Israeli authorities are also targeting  our supporters and journalists. They want us to stop our non-violent  demonstrations, but as long as our land is being stolen, we cannot  stop.”  Background:  The recent raids began concurrently  with the opening of a legal trial in Montreal. The village of Bil’in has  taken two companies registered in Canada (Green Park International &  Green Mount International) to court for participating in war crimes by  building settlements on Bil’in’s land under the 2000 Canadian Crimes  Against Humanity and War Crimes Statute (which incorporates both the  articles of the Fourth Geneva Convention and the Rome Statute into  Canadian federal law).  Since the trail began Israeli forces  have arrested 30 people (most of which are under 18). Twenty-one residents  of Bil’in remain in Israeli detention.  Through Israel’s interrogation and  intimidation tactics, some of arrested youth have falsely ‘confessed’ that  the Bil’in Popular Committee urges the demonstrators to throw stones. With  such ‘confessions’, Israeli forces then proceed to raid the village at  night invade homes and arrest leaders of the non-violent struggle in the  community.  Two of the three popular committee  members who traveled to Montreal to represent the villages case , Mohammad  Khatib and Mohammad Abu Rahme were arrested and have since been released  on bail. (see B’Tselem report:  Another leading Bil’in non-violent  activist, Adeeb Abu Rahme, remains in detention since his arrest during a  non-violent demonstration on 10 July 2009 (see report & video: Adib has  been charged with “incitement to damage the security of the  area.”  On 29 August 2009, two additional  Bil’in houses were simultaneously raided by at least 40 soldiers,  arresting Ashraf Al-Khatib (age 29) and Hamru Bornat (age 24). A local  cameraman, Haitham Al-Khatib, brother of the arrested Hamru, was  repeatedly forcibly moved and hit, and threatened with arrest unless he  stopped filming. Soldiers declared his home a “closed military zone” but  could not produce any military order.  The Palestinian village of Bil’in has  become an international symbol of the Palestinian popular struggle. For  almost 5 years, its residents have been continuously struggling against  the de facto annexation of more than 50% of their farmlands, confiscated  for the construction of the Apartheid Wall.  In a celebrated decision, the Israeli  Supreme Court ruled on the 4 September 2007 that the current route of the  wall in Bil’in was illegal and needs to be dismantled; the ruling however  has not been implemented. The struggle of the village to liberate its  lands and stop the illegal settlements has been internationally recognized  and has earned the popular committee in Bil’in the Carl von Ossietzky Meda  award.


With the Holy month of Ramadan having ended, and the autumn rains approaching, it will soon be time for our farmers to start preparing their fields for the new crops. As you know, the economic situation in Bil’in is very difficult due to the Israeli occupation and the loss of our agricultural lands to the Apartheid Wall.

In October, we will start cultivating our lands behind the Wall and in the settlement Mitityaho Mizrah again as we did for the past five years.

We are sending out this call to all of you who are supporting our struggle in Bil’in to help our farmers financially if you can for the purchase of seeds, and for machinery to plow and prepare the fields for planting trees.

Thank you for you continued support.  Please donate here

Iyad Burnat- Head of Popular Commitee in Bilin
co-founder  of Friends of Freedom and Justice – Bilin

Mobile- (00972) (0) 547847942
Office- (00972) (2) 2489129
Mobile- (00972) (0) 598403676

LINK: to the supporters

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